Press release 25/23 - 13.04.2023

Three Humboldt fellows to conduct research in Augsburg

International scientists have chosen the University of Augsburg as a research destination for their Alexander von Humboldt fellowship.

Three researchers from India and China will visit the University of Augsburg for their research fellowship sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH). Each researcher will spend two years researching in different chairs. The researchers include two scientists working in the field of experimental condensed matter physics and a mathematician specialising in computational mathematics.
Dr. Bin Shen, AvH fellow in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics, stands in the lab © University of Augsburg

Dr Bin Shen, Experimental condensed matter physics

Since 2021, Dr Bin Shen has been conducting research as a guest researcher at the Chair of Experimental Physics VI and has since achieved his first interesting results on hydrostatic pressure measurements on frustrated quantum magnets, more precisely Kitaev materials. Thanks to the Alexander von Humboldt fellowship he received in March 2023, he can now extend his stay in Prof. Dr Philipp Gegenwart’s working group. The aim of the current project is to experimentally realise the Kitaev model in the borderline case of dominant Kitaev interaction and to explore and apply its topologically protected Majorana-Fermion states. For this purpose, Shen will now not only apply hydrostatic pressure but also uniaxial pressure. This, says Gegenwart, is much more experimentally demanding and has hardly been researched to date.

The Alexander von Humboldt fellow studied at Zhejiang University (China) and subsequently conducted research on pressure-induced quantum phase transitions. During his doctorate, he had two research stays in Cambridge, as well as participating in a number of international conferences.


Dr Yizhou Liang, Computational mathematics

Since December 2022, the Alexander von Humboldt fellow Dr Yizhou Liang has been working on numerical methods for partial differential equations at the Chair of Computational Mathematics. His research focuses on the development of non-classical finite element methods, the discretisation of chain complexes in Hilbert spaces and structure-preserving methods. These can be used, among other things, to solve Einstein's field equations of general relativity. Prof. Dr Daniel Peterseim, Chair of Computational Mathematics, says: “In his dissertation, Liang identified novel conformal complexes in three dimensions, from which new efficient simulation methods in the theory of elasticity directly result. In the context of the fellowship, Liang’s special expertise holds promise for breakthroughs at the interface of differential form theory and multiscale numerical methods.”

Before joining the postdoctoral programme at the University of Augsburg, Liang studied mathematics at Peking University. There he worked in the field of computational mathematics, receiving his doctorate in 2022.


Dr. Yizhou Liang, AvH-Stpiendiat bei Numerische Mathematik © University of Augsburg
Dr. Soumendra Nath Panja AvH Fellow in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics. © University of Augsburg

Dr Soumendra Nath Panja, Experimental condensed matter physics

Since October 2022, Dr Soumendra Nath Panja, who comes from India, has been conducting research at the Institute of Physics and is working on bringing quantum materials into new states by means of compressive and elongated tension. The head of the Chair of Experimental Physics VI, Prof. Dr Philipp Gegenwart, describes the project as follows: “The goal is to create novel quantum states in strongly correlated materials by uniaxial elongation and compression and to characterise them in detail all the way down to millikelvin temperatures by means of low-temperature measurements of electrical resistance and the Hall effect.” Gegenwart says the project is very innovative and also offers interesting new perspectives for the research group’s methodology in his chair.

After studying physics at two Indian universities, Panja completed a doctorate at IISER (India) on magnetic and dielectric properties of geometrically frustrated transition metal oxides. There and subsequently at the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, he learned a range of methods that have well prepared him for his research in Augsburg.


Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship

The Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdocs is awarded to international researchers with above-average qualifications who are at the beginning of their academic careers. Depending on their area of focus and research project, the fellows choose for themselves the academic institution they visit in Germany. International researchers regularly visit the University of Augsburg in this way.


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Experimental Physics VI
Computational Mathematics
Experimental Physics VI
Experimental Physics VI
Research Associate
Computational Mathematics

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